“For the last few months Jerusalem has become the center of nationality struggles. Until then we were living peacefully. The Orientals were grateful to their European coreligionists for the help they brought to their moral and material misery. Zionism was created supposedly to bring about closer relations within Judaism; all it has succeeded in doing is to cause fighting between nationalities.” Albert Antebi,
Newark, Delaware (Special to Informed Comment; Feature) – Back in September of this year, When Ebrahimi Raisi, the president of Iran, or rather the former executioner, when asked about the Abrahamic accords said coolly, “Well let’s see what happens.”
The Abrahamic Accords are now on hold.
Whether we should take Raisi’s observation as just a simple statement or whether this pronouncement had a meaning behind it, we don’t know.
The current conflict is certainly testing Tehran’s patience, given the ayatollahs’ strong rhetorical commitment to the Palestinians.
The backlash against innocent children, men and women in Gaza has been beyond imagination. The world is witness to the non-stop shelling of bombs containing phosphorus which burns the body to its core. In retaliation for the horrific killing of fourteen hundred Israelis — most of them noncombatants and many of them peace activists — some eight thousand Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Air Force. Whole families have been eradicated. Fifty- nine staff, medical doctors and other humanitarians have been killed.
It is a genocidal war. More than 1.1 million Palestinians are about to become displaced south of the Gaza Valley, marking the largest mass exodus of Palestinians since 1948.
Iran was not always a factor in Palestinian and Israeli affairs. During the Pahlavi reign,he relationship between Iran and Israel was largely behind the scenes.
Mohammad Reza Shah never endorsed the state of Israel but kept a friendly distance.
He had good relations with both Arabs and Israelis and maintained a balance, never really endorsing any side.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took the helm of the revolution, Yasser Arafat came to visit. It was jubilation all over. However, that euphoria dissipated among the secular-minded leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as it became clear that the Ayatollah preferred the Muslim fundamentalist strain of the Palestinian movement, a strain that evolved into Hamas.
Immediately after the revolution, among the military groups formed inside Iran was Sepah Qods whose names derive from Qods which means Jerusalem. “We will march to Jerusalem” was their slogan.
In the vacuum that then existed, the Islamic Republic helped create Hezbollah and then supported Hamas. Money and training poured into these organizations.
In fact, General Qasem Soleimani, the late head of the Qods Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who was assassinated on the orders of Trump (let’s say by way of Tel Aviv), visited Lebanon many times and had a chummy relationship with Hezbollah. His daughter is married to the son of the number two commander of Hezbollah.
Then, the axis of resistance was formed to confront Israel and the U.S., especially after the wars in Iraq, in Syria and Yemen.
Iran is the head of this axis.
The Israeli government has, throughout the last four decades and especially under Netanyahu declared a silent war on Iran. Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program has been one reason, since Israel sees it as a precursor to a warhead, despite the CIA’s repeated finding that Tehran has no nuclear weapons program. Israeli intelligence has been involved in taking sensitive documents from inside Iran and one of Iran’s nuclear scientists was assassinated.
Still, the bark of Israel and Iran toward each other has often been worse than their bite.
For instance, during the Iran-Iraq war, Israel sold arms to Iran, even while decrying the government in Tehran. And Iran secretly sold petroleum to Israel in return.
As for Hezbollah, even though it is an Iran proxy with its own vendetta against Israel, which occupied its lands from 1982 through 2000, it is unlikely that it will enter this latest conflict. Hezbollah is both a party and a militia, and it has to worry about its standing in the Lebanese government. The other Lebanese parties have warned Nasrallah against dragging Lebanon into another catastrophic war with Israel.
There is only one sure way to keep the Islamic Republic and its proxies out of Israeli and Palestinian politics, and that is to halt the pretexts for this meddling
The destruction of Gaza and the punishment of its people must stop. Peace is only possible if Israel which asks everyone to stand by its “moral” values also respects international law instead of trampling on it. Israel must cease its wanton destruction of Gaza and its punitive strikes at noncombatants and civilian infrastructure. Tel Aviv must adhere to international law instead of trampling on it. Further, it must allow new elections in the West Bank and Gaza (if there is anything left of it) so that a new generation of younger leaders can emerge. This political process will only begin when Israel ends its colonial occupation of an old and proud nation after seventy- five years.
A genuine peace settlement would leave Iran with little leverage. The current conflict, given Tehran’s rejectionist stance, is increasing the Islamic Republic’s popularity on the street throughout the Muslim world.